Investigators working to catch arsonists

Arson is suspected in some recent fires in Evansville including a fire Wednesday morning in a vacant house.

14 News learns more about how investigators determine whether a fire is deliberately set and how they go about catching the arsonist.

It's something that keeps Evansville firefighters, fire investigators and police busy - putting out fires that are deliberately set and then trying to catch the person or people responsible. That's the most difficult part of the equation.

Fire investigator Roger Griffin says, "About 25 percent, 25-plus percent, of the fire [runs] we make are set by human beings some way or the another."

One-fourth of all runs in Evansville are to fight deliberately set fires.

Around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, firefighters were called to Madison and Governor where fire damaged two vacant homes; one of which was fully engulfed when they arrived.

Fire investigator Jesse Storey says, "Anytime you have vacant structures, [you] have the potential for vandalism and arson, and early indications is that's the situation we have here."

There have been several other suspicious house fires in this area including one on Fourth Street involving a duplex; four structures were damaged.

Storey says, "Right now, we're working this as a suspicious fire. [There are] some very suspicious circumstances going on that both the fire department and police department are doing a coordinated investigation with."

These fires are keeping Evansville fire investigators and police investigators busy - not so much determining that arson has been committed but making an arrest.

"Arson, of course, is a crime that is not hard to prove at the fire scene; we've got an arson. But it's hard to prove who basically did it because usually the person works alone," says Griffin.

Evansville fire investigators say once they determine if a fire is caused by arson, they turn that information over to police. If the responsible party is caught, it could mean jail time.

If you know of anyone who has deliberately started a fire in Evansville, call the police or the fire department.